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Saturday, April 23, 2011
Rapid reaction: Bruins 2, Habs 1 (2OT)

By James Murphy



BOSTON -- For the second game in a row, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens needed extra time to decide the game -- and for the second straight game, the Bruins came out on top. Nathan Horton scored 9:03 into the second overtime to give the Bruins a 2-1 win and 3-2 series lead with a chance it in Montreal on Tuesday in Game 6.

Tim Thomas was the main reason the Bruins had a chance Saturday, as he and Carey Price (49 saves) were simply amazing between the pipes. Thomas made 44 stops for the Bruins and kept his team alive in overtime with 15 saves.

Brad Marchand scored the other Bruins goal and Jeff Halpern had the lone goal for the Canadiens.

A goalies duel -- After nine goals were scored between the two teams in Game 4, the Habs and Bruins found themselves tangled up in a duel between Tim Thomas (44 Saves) and Carey Price (49 Saves). Both goalies came up with huge saves and were in the zone after some inconsistent play in the first four games. It was almost a game of "Who will blink first?" and both goalies seemed to be enjoying the duel, as they could be seen winking and smiling at each other as they walked off the ice for the second intermission. Price would blink first at 4:33 of the third period when Marchand broke the 0-0 deadlock, and then Thomas blinked at 13:56 of the third when Jeff Halpern scored to tie the game at one.

Top line finally delivers -- They have been called out all series and just couldn’t seem to get their game going, but on Saturday, the top line of Milan LucicDavid Krejci – Nathan Horton finally delivered, and in clutch fashion. Horton and Lucic combined on the overtime winner and Krejci played a great game. All three players got better as the game went on, and their hard work finally paid off.

Marchand's nose for the net -- Following the second period, injured Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty tweeted “This game is longer than Marchand’s nose." Pacioretty immediately deleted the tweet and apologized for it after the third period. But there was the pesky Brad Marchand, who has been knocking on the door all series long, breaking a scoreless game to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 4:33 of the third period.

Home team wins -- The Bruins became the first home team to win in the series, winning their first playoff home game since Game 2 of their 2010 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Flyers.

Bergeron continues to lead way -- Patrice Bergeron has been the Bruins best player in this series thus far. In Game 5, he continued to excel, assisting on Brad Marchand’s third-period goal. Bergeron now has four helpers and six points in the series.

Power failure -- The Bruins' power play continued to struggle in Game 5, as they went 0-for-3. Their third power play came with 3:48 left in overtime when Brent Sopel tripped up Patrice Bergeron, but they were unable to convert and end the game.

Emergency goalies, if needed -- With just under 12 minutes remaining in the first period, Game 4 hero Michael Ryder went down to his knees in the crease and robbed Habs forward Tomas Plekanec with a glove save while Tim Thomas was down and the net was empty. The save preserved a 0-0 tie at the time. Then in the first overtime, with just more than six minutes left, Zdeno Chara made a save on Mike Cammalleri, who had an empty net to shoot on.

Shooting wide to score -- A great observation was pointed out to me by Brian Wilde of CTV Montreal in the first intermission: The Bruins, especially in the first period, were shooting the puck wide off the boards to create chances in front and make Habs goalie Carey Price scramble. They succeeded in creating chances in that opening frame but failed to score. As Wilde pointed out, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins never tried that in their series with the Habs in last year’s playoffs, and if they had, they might have won.